Rewind: Sharks oozing mediocrity after loss to lowly Columbus


Rewind: Sharks oozing mediocrity after loss to lowly Columbus

SAN JOSE – The Blue Jackets entered San Jose with the NHL’s worst record, but you wouldn’t have known it in the first period of Tuesday’s game against the Sharks at SAP Center.

Columbus was first to loose pucks, harder along the boards, and was rolling four lines effectively, while the Sharks looked as slow as they have all season playing mostly in their own end. Rather than jumping on a fragile opponent and putting them away early, the Sharks played from behind for much of the night in what was eventually a 5-2 loss.

Minor penalties to Chris Tierney and Brenden Dillon were partly to blame for the slow start, as both came in the first five minutes. Brandon Saad scored a power play goal at 6:11 to open the scoring.

[RECAP: Instant Replay: Sharks bullied by Blue Jackets]

“I thought we’d be better in the first period than we were. Took two penalties right off the bat,” Pete DeBoer said. “Got on our heels, took us awhile to recover. I thought from the second period on, we were the better team. We did a lot of good stuff. But, you can’t dig a hole in this league and expect to climb out of it. We’ve got to fix that start.”

Joe Pavelski, who scored both Sharks goals, also made note of the penalties. “We were sitting on our heels early, and it’s got to change.”

Although the Sharks escaped the first period tied 1-1, the Blue Jackets had the confidence they needed to withstand a better, but not overly dominant push from the home team over the second and third periods. Their much-maligned goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky outplayed Martin Jones on the other end, too. For the first time in his Sharks career, Jones was pulled for backup Alex Stalock, departing after two periods.

The Sharks’ starter gave up four goals on 21 shots, including a Scott Hartnell marker that found a small space over Jones’ right shoulder, and the game-winner at 18:32 of the second period to Boone Jenner when Jones and Brent Burns didn’t communicate on a puck behind the net.

“Gave up an early goal and a couple soft ones in the second,” Jones said. “We need to be better. Everyone needs to be better. I thought we got outworked tonight. But, at the end of the day I think everybody needs to be a little bit better.”

Although he wasn’t on his A-game, Jones was not the sole reason for the loss, as he implied. The Sharks continue to get next to nothing from their bottom two lines, which have scored exactly one goal in the nine games the Sharks have been missing the injured Logan Couture.

Third line center Tierney looks like he could again use some minor league seasoning that helped him so much last season, while Matt Nieto and Tommy Wingels are both off to tremendously disappointing starts. The fourth line features minor leaguer Bryan Lerg and should-be minor leaguer Barclay Goodrow, as well as Mike Brown – who at least did something on Tuesday night by trying to get his team going with a first period fight, but won’t ever be counted on to create much offensively.

It sounds like DeBoer has about had it with that group.

[KURZ: Shot of the Game: Pavelski goes back to front to tie it up]

“I’m not getting enough out of our bottom six, or whatever you want to call those next two lines,” he said, after praising the top six. “We’ve shuffled guys around, we’ve moved guys in and out. We’re close to having to make some changes there, because it’s not working.”

Tierney said: “We’re not winning enough battles, myself [included]. It’s not there right now. We need to be better and we need to be effective, and we need to chip in for us to win games consistently. We know that, and it’s really frustrating not being able to get going right now. The only people we can blame is ourselves.”

The Sharks also lost the special teams battle again, 1-0. They’ve failed to score a power play goal at home through five games (0-for-13), while the penalty kill has allowed 10 goals in the past nine games.

“For us, the power play, we demand a lot out of ourselves and expect a lot,” Pavelski said. “It’s just unacceptable.”

San Jose will remain at home for the next three games, before a six-game road trip kicks off in Detroit on Nov. 13. There is no shortage of things they need to fix if they’re going to be anything other than a mediocre team for the next five months.

“Everybody goes through tough stretches,” Jones said. “We know we have a good group in here. We’ll respond. We’ve got the group in here to do it.”

2020 NHL All-Star Game live stream: How to watch tournament online

NBC Sports

2020 NHL All-Star Game live stream: How to watch tournament online

The players put on a show at the NHL All-Star Skills Competition in St. Louis on Friday night. On Saturday, they'll go head-to-head in the 2020 NHL All-Star Game at Enterprise Center.

Sharks forward Tomas Hertl didn't win any events on Friday, but he'll be one of the talks of the town heading into Saturday's exhibition due to the stunt he pulled against Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington in the Bud Light NHL Save Streak competition. It's unlikely he'll have a Justin Bieber mask stowed away under his jersey during Saturday's All-Star Game, but based on his personality, it wouldn't come as a shock if he had any other surprises in store.

[RELATED: Sharks' Hertl brings fun to NHL skills event with Bieber mask]

As San Jose's lone All-Star representative, Hertl will team up with the other members of the Pacific Division squad in an attempt to claim divisional supremacy over the rest of the league. The 2020 NHL All-Star Game will feature a two-round, three-game tournament in which the league's four divisions will square off. Each 20-minute game will be played 3-on-3, with teams changing sides at the 10-minute mark. Any game tied after 20 minutes of play will be decided by shootout.

In Round One, the two Eastern Conference divisions (Atlantic and Metropolitan) will face off, while the two Western Conference divisions (Central and Pacific) will battle in Round Two. The two winners then advance to Round Three where they'll face each other to determine the overall champion.

Here's how to watch the 2020 NHL All-Star Game online:

When: Saturday, Jan. 25, at 5 p.m. PT
Live Stream:

Sharks' Tomas Hertl brings the fun to NHL All-Star Skills Competition


Sharks' Tomas Hertl brings the fun to NHL All-Star Skills Competition

Leave it to Tomas Hertl to put a smile on everyone's face.

The self-described "smiley guy" is the Sharks' lone representative at NHL All-Star Weekend in St. Louis, and he didn't take long to show the Enterprise Center crowd why he fills that role so well during the All-Star Skills Competition on Friday night.

Hertl participated in two events on the evening, and got the crowd on its feet both times. But it was his first event -- the Bud Light NHL Save Streak -- during which he created one of the highlights of the entire night.

The Save Streak competition pits goalies against one another to see how many consecutive breakaway saves they can make. Tampa Bay's Andrei Vasilevskiy held the lead with nine consecutive stops with only the hometown Jordan Binnington left to go. The Blues goaltender recently challenged musician Justin Bieber to a breakaway competition on Twitter, in which he said he would die his hair platinum blonde if Bieber scored at least once on 10 breakaway attempts.

Clearly, Hertl was paying attention, because he had a surprise for Binnington on his own breakaway attempt.

See for yourself:

Hertl didn't score on his hilarious attempt, but it's tough to blame him for two reasons. For one -- and perhaps most importantly -- he had a gigantic Justin Bieber mask over his entire face. Secondly, Binnington would go on to stop six more shots in a row after Hertl to win the event with a streak of 10.

[RELATED: Sharks' Karlsson named to NHL's All-Decade Second Team]

The 26-year-old forward wasn't done for the night, though. He participated in the next event -- the Honda NHL Accuracy Shooting -- as well.

The Accuracy Shooting competition involves a series of shooters attempting to hit five targets on a digital board. Hertl might have the best mits on the Sharks, and he wasted no time showing them off in St. Louis, knocking down four targets on his first four shot attempts. The crowd got louder and louder as it appeared Hertl might complete a perfect round in very short order, but unfortunately, the crescendo had to wait. Hertl struggled to hit the final target, requiring nine more attempts to close it out. Carolina's Jacob Slavvin ultimately won the event, hitting all five targets in only 9.505 seconds, considerably faster than Hertl's time of 17.161.

So, Hertl wasn't victorious in any one event at the Skills Competition, but he undoubtedly will be remembered as one of the big winners of the night. After all, as he likes to say, "Fun must be always."